504: Understanding Your Customers | Steve Coughran, CFO, EMJ Corporation


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Inside the middle market today, it’s not uncommon to find a seasoned private equity executive serving as CFO of one his or her firm’s portfolio companies. Such an arrangement provides the business leader with a coveted split-screen view that buffers the investor’s demands with real-world operational insights.

CFO Steve Coughran, who last year entered the C-suite at EMJ Corporation, of Chattanooga, TN, enjoys a similar split-screen of the business. However, this time the other half of CFO Coughran’s screen belongs not to a private equity executive but a strategy adviser and author. ” I was initially hired by EMJ to help them to develop and execute a client experience strategy. I entered their offices and helped them to develop tools and processes to help its leaders understand how they could enhance the client experience, but as I got into the engagement, I realized that the corporate strategy was not aligned with the customer and that there was a big disconnect,” explains Coughran, who stepped into the CFO office a year ago following a number of changes inside EMJ’s finance function.

In the meantime, CFO Coughran’s strategy itch has seldom waned, and the split-screen CFO can still be found delivering keynote and seminar presentations for conferences across the country on topics focused on strategic growth, innovation, and financial management.

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